First of all, congratulations and welcome to the Parents Community! The only way I can describe it is by saying "You will know"
If you are not sure, the worst that can happen is you can go to the hospital and they will check you and send you home.
Everyone is different and each pregnancy and labor is different. Like Ashley, I didn't think it was that bad. I would rather have that baby on the outside of me than on the inside :)
I had heard stories about people being sent home when they thought they were in labor and I didn't want to go through that so I remember the contractions starting around 8 pm one night and trying to go to bed because I knew that would be me last chance to get sleep. I was able to sleep for a little while and then I woke up because of the pain. I walked around my house for a while because it seemed to distract me. My husband went to work and I told him not to worry that I would call him when it was time. Around 10 am I decided to drive myself to the hospital (not a good idea by the way, I would never do that again) I was all checked into the hospital at 10:30 and had the baby at 11:00. It wasn't too bad.
I went on to have two more children and each time the experience was differnt.
Don't worry about it. Your body will guide you through it. Trust that you can do this and the pain is something you can handle. You will have an option for pain control once you are at the hospital but a good thing to do is talk to your doctor in advance so you can have a plan.
Best Wishes Ebony!